Amy-Eloise (Neale) Markovc is headed to Tokyo, and even a controversy about cones couldn’t keep her away.
The Glacier Peak High School graduate, who competes in distance running for Great Britain, was selected by Team GB to race in the women’s 5,000 meters at the Olympics, which begin next month in Tokyo.
Markovc, who won 10 individual state titles during a legendary high school running career from 2009-13 and was The Herald’s 2016 Woman of the Year in Sports, is one of three athletes who will represent Great Britain in the women’s 5,000. Jessica Judd qualified automatically by winning Sunday’s race at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester. Team GB selected Markovc and Eilish McColgan to round out the squad.
“It’s been a wild, emotional 48hrs. But I’m overjoyed to announce that I’ve been selected for my first Olympic team!” Markovc wrote Tuesday on Instagram. “Massive thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. It has been an incredible journey and we’re just getting started!”
Markovc’s Olympic hopes were stuck in purgatory the past two days over a controversy surrounding her qualifying time. The top two finishers at Sunday’s British Championships automatically qualified for the Olympics, provided they had met the Olympic qualifying standard at some point this season. Markovc placed second Sunday, and she thought she had bettered the Olympic standard of 15 minutes, 10 seconds during a race in Boston in May. However, that time was later deemed to have been achieved on an irregular track because it didn’t have a rail on the inner edge, meaning it may not count toward Olympic qualification.
Markovc, who established herself as one of Great Britain’s premier distance runners by winning the gold medal in the 3,000 meters at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in March, just missed the Olympic standard at the British Championships, finishing in 15:10.54, and afterward she voiced her frustration about the situation on Instagram.
“About a month ago, I achieved the Olympic Standard in the 5k, running 15:05,” Markovc wrote.
“But I still might not be going to Tokyo.
“On Friday, I found out that World Athletics may not accept my qualifying time. From my current understanding, this is due to an issue with cones placed in lieu of an inside rail at the meet where I ran my standard.
“Today I placed 2nd at the Olympic Trials. Usually, when you have the standard, this would be an auto qualification for Tokyo. Usually I’d be thrilled with my performance. My potential Olympic selection is in question, not due to my ability, but due to CONES.
“Throughout my career, there have been plenty of times that I have been disappointed in myself. But this time I’m disappointed in the system.”
However, when Team GB announced its track and field team for the Olympics on Tuesday, Markovc’s name was on the list, meaning she’s headed to Tokyo.
The Olympics begin on July 23. The preliminaries for the women’s 5,000 are July 30 with the finals on Aug. 2.